31 December 2011

End-Year Wishes

As in the next few hours we're entering 2012, I'd like to wish you all a good start in the new year with positive minds and in good spirits. May the year bring a better life for everybody!

30 November 2011

Enchanted Pearl

Something showy, glamorous, extravagant... Something to wear for parties and special events... These descriptions are some of common features of winter jewelry. My choice for the festive cold season is on the contrary. It's a not-too-flashy necklace piece that's perfect for night fun time AND daytime office work.

I remember myself when working in a law firm years ago. I stepped into the office in business suit and with high heels. The accompaniment jewelry I wore was usually a pair of basic earrings. If I wanted to play a little bit of dressing up, I wore a simple choker-length necklace, too. That was all. My jewelry shouldn't be overwhelming my outfit as the purpose of dressing up was to maintain sophisticated look and at the same time assure self-confidence. That's the idea behind the Enchanted Pearl necklace. It's designed to perfectly pair with business suits when worn with the clasp on the back of the neck. But I made it more flexible. When it's worn with the clasp at the front showing the all glitters of Swarovski crystals, it's ready to liven up another look with party dress. Clever idea, don't you think?

Complete details on how to make the Enchanted Pearl necklace is available in Bead – Winter Sparkle Special 2011, Issue 34.

29 October 2011

Copper Duo

My autumn-themed earrings project is published in Bead magazine, issue 33, October/November 2011.

Copper Duo earrings are basically composed of two types of materials: copper findings and Swarovski crystals. But there's a slight twist in color tones of the findings. Bright copper-colored rings are used to accentuate the other antique-looking copper elements. Show them together with the shines of Swarovski crystals, you'll get a fabulous pair of dangles for your ears!

28 September 2011

Paisley Glam

Finally... after waiting for almost a year, I have my Paisley Glam necklace published in Creative Jewelry 2011, a special issue of Beadwork magazine.

As shown in many of my designs, I love using crystals and pearls to create elegant designs. This piece is no exception. I opted Swarovski crystals and crystal pearls to feature a huge paisley printed Swarovski pendant and sprinkled them with Bali silver. When I made it last year, winter feel was approaching and the excitement for christmas and new year's eve was beginning to fill the air; so my mood was flowing with the buzz of these two events. Something elegant, glamorous, alluring. A show stopper.

Even when the December festivities are over, the necklace still adds certain quality to the appearance of its wearer in other formal or semi formal occassions (just don't forget to match it with appropriate dressing codes).

13 September 2011

Ring A Ring...

o' copper,
a pocket full of earrings...

I happened to have a lot of copper rings and connectors in slightly different copper color tones: bright reddish brown and dark antique one. As brown is usually associated with fall season which is coming near, all I could think of was to mix them up for pairs of earrings.

28 August 2011

Metalicious Bling!

I've carried some ideas to work with metal findings and here's one of the results from my experiment with versatile jumprings. If normally I use sterling silver, this time I chose several different kinds of open and closed rings from TierraCast. The quality of these premium alternatives is impressive. Sturdy, excellent workmanship and wonderfully designed in several finishes. I just love the products and already have some extra staples in my jewelry material box.

There are lots of style elements found in this bracelet. I joined hammered rings with rope and double ropes open jumprings, and attached them to a hammered toggle with plain ones. I used black and rhodium finishes in two different hues. I also used big, medium and small sizes for the rings. My goal was to make a chain-look bracelet with flair. I've seen people wearing a big silver chain bracelet but never an assembled rings one. When the bracelet was completed in the first phase, I took time to examine the design. Stylish, eye-catching and maybe it would be fine for men, too. Wow, making a unisex bracelet wasn't on my what-to-create list but I did it! So excited with the outcome, later I asked myself what if it was added with crystals? So I gave some Swarovski blings in, once again, two different types, i.e. lucerna and chessboard, without diminishing the presence of the metals. The final piece looked more lively which I really liked. It fit the bill of glamour, fun and flirty side.

31 July 2011

German Lampwork Beads 3

Ever wonder a baby face in a flower-formed bead? I definitely never imagine one! Sometimes I feel I've seen so often flower beads that share common similarities: flat or raised flower details, or sculpted petals with dotty stamens; and I need to see a change. When I browsed Dora Schubert's website by chance, I didn't prepare myself for an unexpected find: sculptural baby flower beads! A chubby baby face sorrounded with sculpted petals. The idea is clever and original. Each bead is big enough to be worn singly as a pendant. It's clearly a head-turning piece.

Dora's creations are distinctive. She makes details on clean-colored backgrounds meticulously. She does the same with colorful motifs and backgrounds. She has her signatures in making sculptural and non-sculptural beads. When I stop by at her Flickr site, I'm sometimes speechless to describe her extraordinary works.

30 June 2011

Double-Duty Necklace

It's been awhile I didn't make double-duty necklaces: 1) to adorn someone's neck, and 2) to serve as prayer beads. In the past I've made several versions of this style. I started with a short-length adjustable necklace and later made a long one, both using artisan lampwork beads. Besides creating functional pieces, my intention was also to promote lampwork beads in my work. I was a newbie in lampwork beads world and easily got excited when I spotted cool bead designs on internet, in books or magazines. Within a few months, I owned a handful of artisan beads from here and USA! After seeing how unique and beautiful they were in person, I instantly knew they would give some art touches in my designs. Since then I've weighed lampwork beads as equally important materials as Swarovski crystals and sterling silver.

Back to double-duty theme, last year I made necklaces featuring lampwork beads as pendants in different ways. One was hung on one of toggle parts and the other positioned very close to crimped two wire ends. This year I used a sterling connector to hold a lampwork bead pendant.

I also experimented with a very large ring. I was thinking of a prayer beads necklace that would easily slide on a door/window handle or a small hook and I came across a really big lead-free pewter ring (about 32mm in diameter) from TierraCast. I'd read lots of positive comments and feedbacks on internet about this brand and so I thought it was time to prove them. The outcome wasn't disappointing. I should start stocking more TierraCast elements now.

Another recent experiment was a short necklace with Swarovski crystal pearls and copper findings. The photos of famous ladies like Elizabeth Taylor and Princess of Wales Diana wearing pearl necklaces had inspired me to create a simple, timeless, elegant piece. Classic style. And without knots. While generally pearl jewelry are strung knotted, my version of this style was replacing knots with small spacers and crimp beads.

The result may look deceptive. I bet no one would ever think in first place that this necklace is actually prayer beads!

29 May 2011

Creative Jewelry Special Edition

My Purplelicious Garden necklace is selected for Creative Jewelry 10th anniversary edition that compiles 165 inspiring projects and interesting articles from past issues of the mag. This special edition is out now.

27 April 2011

Failed Experiment

Do you believe that one's mood affects her/her work? I do!

This necklace was made when I (1) wanted to use leather for a change in my jewelry work; (2) didn't stock end crimps that fit the size of the leather; and (3) wanted to use leftover sterling silver chain accidently found in my stash. Having one big beautiful polymer clay focal, assorted crystals and silver findings ready on my table, I was thinking to make a fun, casual necklace. Here is the result: a failed experiment!

At first, I defended myself the necklace was wonderful. The design was similar to my two other designs Joy and Lemonia Drop with a little variation in the closure. I knotted the leather ends to attach the lobster clasp and its ring. But I had a funny feeling. Something wasn't really right to complement the focal. The more I stared at it, the more I felt bothered. While I found the pendant (focal and its chain dangle) was perfect, the knotted leathers half ruined the overall look of the design. They appeared to be a bit bulky and gave an impression of sloppy finish. Maybe next time I would use the knotting system when my mood sets for tribal adventure or metal power or leather trends or something else when knots are good way to show all the elements in a piece. So I reworked the design and...

it turned out to be completely different! The necklace looked more fun and stylish. Much better than the first. This is what I think the importance of being brave to accept failures and explore other design possibilities to achieve the most desirable result.

22 February 2011

Lost and Broken

That’s right. I’ve lost one piece of my earrings – possibly it was dropped when I was running errands. Then I’ve found one glass disc of my necklace broken when I was about to store it. The necklace is one of my projects published in a US special issue magazine Creative Jewelry 2010.

One of the must-have features I seek from lampwork beads is colors. Rare (no longer produced) color types, odd color combinations, colors that make beads precious. When no one seems to be interested in that kind of colors, I might be the one who would feel the opposite. I think it’s great if I can make jewelry with special beads because this would make the wearer feel special, too; feel different (in a positive way) from the crowd. Even if I don’t turn them into jewelry, it would be still good as I have one-of-a-kind beads that not many people may have.

The earring’s floral round bead has luscious, creamy, caramel-like orange base. I don’t know the name of this color and I don’t know if it resulted from a mixture of two glass colors or came from a single color glass rod. To me, the color base is not ordinary and is rarely found on the market. Or maybe I miss to spot it when it’s available? Anyway, when I purchased the beads, I decided they weren’t for share. I turned them into earrings for myself.

The colors of the lampwork discs are interestingly unusual. The combination doesn’t follow general guide on color mixes and is not my favorite palettes either, and yet I bought the whole set of the discs simply because I was sort of challenged to make their colors noticeable. I knew I could get the most pleasing arrangement of colors for eyes to see by putting each disc on the right place, and I proved it right. The discs made their way to Creative Jewelry 2010 as a Funky Wonky Necklace.

With one bead gone and one broken, I still don’t know what I’m going to do with the rest of existing beads.

31 January 2011

If Only...

I believe every design has a purpose. Why this bracelet has a triple string of small pearls? Why that necklace uses many big beads? Why this pair of earrings are made long and in bright colors? Why this and that and so on. Only the designer of that piece has the answers.

Similarly, I knew what I wanted to achieve with this long necklace. I wanted the floral motif lampwork beads to be the focus of attention. They’re full of multi pastel-colored petals and some with a cute lady bug too – something not to be missed! To keep the attention stay in place, I intutively knew I should make the design clean and without many embellishments. So I used dark oxidized sterling silver chains and Swarovski crystals to create a contrast between black and white. VoilĂ , the contrast made the soft colors of the flower beads pop! A few accents of Bali silver spacers, bead cap and toggle completed the look. Now, who would miss to spot any look-at-me details on this necklace?

If only my winter had all these colorful flowers… I can only wish.